How Assistant Director Jim Wescott is Bringing Northwell Health’s ED to Innovative Heights
Assistant Director of Emergency Medicine Service Line Jim Wescott has built his career in the ED and now he’s bringing his lively, passionate, and innovative leadership to the entire Emergency Service Line at Northwell Health. We sat down with Jim to see the ED through his eyes:
How did you get your start at Northwell Health?
I started at Southside Hospital ED in 2004 as a Staff Nurse where I stayed for 14 years. Shortly after that, Southside Hospital became a part of Northwell Health. From there, I progressed with the health system from Staff Nurse, to Charge Nurse, to Preceptor, and in 2012, I became an Assistant Nurse Manager. In 2015, I became a Nurse Manager and was integral in the expansion of the emergency department. Under my leadership, the ED progressed from an 11,000 capacity ED to 30,000. After construction, that number reached 60,000! Now, I’m Assistant Director of Emergency Medicine Service Line.
How did you know that coming to Northwell Health was the right career move for you?
I knew immediately that Southside ED was for me on my first walk through in 2004. There was a buzz and energy that was occurring in this small ED. I hadn’t even had an official interview and I was ready to jump in and start working! When Southside Hospital integrated with Northwell Health, the system did an amazing job of committing to projects and improving processes. It’s such an innovative health system! There’s just this incredible commitment to moving forward at Northwell Health and I believe it’s because the senior executive level has a passionate vision that they’ve implemented in the mid-level leadership team and disseminated throughout the entire system.
Tell us about your current role:
The Emergency Medicine service line works collaboratively with hospital executive leadership to oversee clinical operations, quality, patient experience, finance, employee investment, community benefit, teaching and research, and market growth in the system’s emergency departments. The service line drives the sharing of best practices, standardized measurement and analysis of efficiency and quality metrics, and streamlined administrative practices by partnering with site ED leadership. Additionally, the EMSL assists our sites with redesign ED workflows, coordinates with system emergency preparedness departments, and is growing the Northwell footprint through a joint venture with GoHealth Urgent Care.
We also work with sites on career development and the (this is a mouthful, sorry!) ED Service Line Clinical Leadership Development Program. It’s a terrific opportunity for our ED clinicians, ACPs, and RNs! Created in conjunction with other leaders at the service line level, program participants attend an expert-led class every month. One month might focus on emotional intelligence, another on finance, and another on business strategies. This is a unique program that’s geared toward Emergency Medicine and it’s an exciting program because you don’t traditionally get these courses in healthcare work. Our SVP and executive director, Dr. John Deangelo recognized the enormous benefit of this investment in our clinical leadership teams along the service line and through his trailblazing vision, brought it to life. The program will be kicking off its fourth class this July. As a proud alumnus of this program, I can share with you firsthand how the content of this program augmented my own career development.
How does Northwell Health encourage employees to move around within the organization?
Moving within the organization is very well received and encouraged. I was at Southside Hospital for a long time and had successful upward career mobility. There are definitely pros to progressing and growing at one site. You know the culture, you know the players, you know what to expect day-to-day- even in an ED where the landscape is unpredictable! There are also cons to staying at one site. When you take on a new role, there’s a lot to learn and I think it’s beneficial to start that new role at a different location. Each culture is different. You’ll augment your own growth by being exposed to different processes and different patterns of thinking with new leaders. Northwell Health does a great job of offering these opportunities for upward mobility throughout the system.
Have you had a great mentor at Northwell Health? What did you learn from them?
Narrowing down my mentors at Northwell Health is difficult! Senior Director of Emergency Medicine Service Line Kate O’Neill is a dynamic person. When I was a Nurse Manager, I was expanding the department to three times its size. It was a very stressful time, I could share my experiences and challenges with Kate and she was the reassuring voice I needed. Even if I knew what to do, receiving validation from her level was integral to my growth. She always had a calming presence to her and you knew she was really listening, a trait that’s a hallmark of any great leader.
There’s also Paula Fessler who has championed my career and been a mentor for years. When you look at someone like Paula, her personality and the presence she has- it’s very inspiring. She reminds you of how inclusive Northwell Health is as an organization and how they build a real culture of care from top to bottom.
Finally, there’s Jason Philip, the Administrative Director of the emergency department at Southside Hospital. I’m very passionate about leadership, coaching and mentoring. I want to teach others the lessons that I’ve learned, especially emotional intelligence- a skill that’s vital for innovative leadership. I can’t think of anyone that I’ve ever worked with who has a stronger emotional intelligence than Jason. He is ridiculously engaged in all of the many moving parts of the emergency department. You wouldn’t expect someone who’s on the MBA executive route to really get down into the weeds of clinical operations. But from his first day, Jason has fully integrated himself. He’s also the Administrative Director of the ED at Peconic Bay Hospital and he does the same thing there! I’m just amazed by his ability to listen- that’s an art that I’ve tried to perfect in my career.
What advice do you have for people just starting out in their careers?
Don’t be afraid to fail! I’ve learned so much more from trying and failing than anything I have succeeded at immediately. So to all of you starting your careers, I say this: Northwell Health is the greatest health system in the world to work for and I would go toe-to-toe with anyone who would challenge that. Shoot for the moon and don’t worry about failing while trying. In a just culture like Northwell Health, if your intentions are good and you tried your best, you won’t be berated or beaten down for it. You’ll learn from it!
Any innovative changes or growth happening in the future we should know about?
One of the numerous innovative projects our team has developed and continues to augment are real-time dashboards. Historically in health care, measuring your performance was a manual, rigorous, work exhaustive endeavor. If you were able to obtain any information it was seldom actionable as it was always a retrospective review of things you could have done better, say a few weeks, months, or even a year ago, and rarely could you benchmark these results to others. Today, our service line team utilizes real-time data with a laser focus on throughput efficacy, quality metrics, and patient experience to name a few.
By leveraging this technology our clinical leadership teams along the service line can drill down to the granular level on such things as length of stay in the ED by the hour, day, mode (walk-in or ambulance) of arrival, and truly drive sustained performance improvement by understanding the challenges and opportunities this powerful information provides our teams.
Jim Wescott is just one great example of the innovation, passion and creative thinking that is making our emergency department a trailblazer in health care. Interested in joining our incredible team in Northwell Health’s ED? RSVP here for our hiring event on August 7th!
Bringing families together through the power of compassion
Sometimes, the most heartbreaking situations grant the greatest opportunity for us to provide genuine compassionate care. This was the case recently at North Shore University Hospital where care providers across several units and two hospitals worked together to help a father and daughter reunite as a family for one last time.
A fifteen-year-old girl came into the Emergency Department at North Shore with asthma exacerbation. Due to the circumstances that surrounded her condition, she needed to be transferred to Cohen Children’s Medical Center. However, while she was still in the ED, her care providers learned that her father was a patient at that same hospital with a terminal condition.
Not knowing how much time he had left, the patient wanted to be able to visit her father before her transfer. It took teamwork from staff at both hospitals to act quickly in order to make one girl’s wish a reality.
At Northwell Health, being Truly Compassionate is more than just a figure of speech or a slogan on a wall. It is an everyday commitment. The ED Attending, RN staff and leaders at North Shore and an RN from Cohen Children’s work together to escort the girl – with telemetry monitoring and oxygen in place – to her father’s room. There the staff remained with them to maintain her care so the patient could visit her father for two hours.
Nurses proved Northwell’s values with their dedicated care, going above and beyond by remaining well past the end of their shifts to ensure a daughter shared precious time with her father. The hospital teams worked as one to bring their patients comfort and assurance during life’s most difficult times.
It was an emotional scene, and one that reminded care providers why they went into their fields in the first place. “This is an event that will stick with many of us for a long time to come,” said Marissa E. Tang, BSN, RN at North Shore University Hospital, “I personally know I will be remembering and speaking of this event myself.”
Following her time with her father, the patient was transferred to Cohen Children’s to receive the care she needed. The patient and her family showed immense gratitude that thanks to the teamwork and compassion from both staffs, a girl was able to spend time with her father who passed away the next day.
Her nurses consider it a privilege to have been able to contribute to their important final visit. Jessica Jardin, RN, BSN, CEN, and Assistant Nurse Manager at the Department of Emergency Medicine, North Shore University Hospital will never forget that day, “I know this situation resonated with my colleagues and myself, and in such a case there is no way we would have denied these two the opportunity to have such precious little time together. The collaborative team effort worked because we all wanted to see the best possible outcome of a painful situation for our patient and her family.”
We’re investing in our future: Renovations to the ED of Long Island Jewish Valley Stream are underway!
At Northwell Health, we understand that in order to live up to our core value of being Truly Innovative, we need to be constantly investing in our people and our facilities. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’re renovating one of the busiest emergency departments on Long Island: The ED ofLong Island Jewish Valley Stream.
“The LIJ Valley Stream Emergency Department is going through a long awaited ED renovation. The ED is being designed, not only to accommodate the current volume of patients, but to do so in the most efficient manner possible.” — John D’Angelo, Executive Director & Senior Vice President, Emergency Medicine Service Line
This renovation is more than just your average face-lift. The new ED expands the care that we’re Made for- going from serving 42,000 annual patients to 55,000.
These updates include 27 beds, two isolation rooms, a decontamination room that limits patient and staff exposure to environmental or other dangerous contaminants and a dedicated computed tomography scanner, part of a state-of-the-art imaging area.
The renovation is an investment in not only patient experience, but in the way doctors and nurses perform medicine. The new ED will use a “split-flow” model. Staff will triage and assess patients based on the severity of their conditions and assign them to the appropriate treatment level. Split-flow is the future of emergency care as it eliminates redundancy and waste wherever possible and has already proven effective in other Northwell Emergency Departments including our new facility at Southside Hospital.
“The vision of our leadership is palpable. The new Emergency Department at LIJ Valley Stream showcases Northwell Health’s commitment to our patients, communities and staff.” – Paula Fessler, Vice President of Emergency Medicine Service Line
We’re excited to show off our new look and enhanced experience! Imagine what you could accomplish at these new facilities as a member of our team.
Find an exceptional home for providing extraordinary emergency care.
For remarkable care and exhilarating careers, there’s nowhere like the emergency department at Northern Westchester Hospital. We’re a community-based hospital handling a wide variety of acuity and demographics in our fast-paced, high-volume ED – from newborns to the elderly. If you’ve got drive, ambition and strong critical thinking skills, you’re made for this opportunity.
Delivering the right care…
Northern Westchester Hospital is in a league of its own for its unparalleled quality of care. But don’t just take our word for it. We’ve received some of the most prestigious recognition in our field:
Planetree Hospital with Distinction for 10+ years
Two-time Magnet® designation
Gold Star status as a primary stroke center
“Very few hospitals in the country can claim the honor of both Magnet® and Plaintree recognition – certainly none in our area.”
–Cathy Tarpey, ACPM, RN
…at the right time…
Our ED is there to deliver the most advanced and effective care when it’s needed most. This 26-bed unit handles an average of 29,000 visits per year. Within the ED, we utilize innovative technology, including electronic medical records, telemedicine/telepsych, capnography and more to ensure our patients get the finest care at the most challenging times.
“Our ED has an abundance of state-of-the-art equipment and technologies that enhance patient care and safety.”
–Cathy Tarpey, ACPM, RN
…with the right support…
At Northern Westchester Hospital, everything is in place to help you thrive in your emergency nursing career. The department uses a team-based approach, bringing together highly qualified nurses, physicians, advanced practitioners and techs to provide patients with the best care possible. Looking for the chance to really hone your skills? We provide a Clinical Ladder, tuition reimbursement, cross training for clinical advancement, fellowship programs, student nursing programs (SNAP), paid conference opportunities, free classes for certification plus bonuses for certifications and advanced degrees. With our shared governance model, you’ll also have a strong voice in the direction of our care and your career.
“Working in our ED will definitely enhance your clinical judgment and skills. Our doctors trust and rely on our nurses’ assessments and information.”
–Meghan Walter, ED Quality Rep, RN
…could make this the right place for you.
If you’re looking for the close-knit setting of a community hospital but the vast career benefits of an award-winning health system with access to state-of-the-art procedures and education, you’ll find it at Northern Westchester Hospital. You’re made for more in your emergency nursing career. Here’s how you can get it today!
You might be Made for a ED nurse career with Northwell Health if…
There’s something about working as an emergency department nurse that sets you apart from the crowd.
…you like your pace fast.
If your work shoes are track shoes, you might be an ED nurse. Let’s face it, you’re fueled by adrenaline and action and life in the ED is the only thing that will quench your thirst for excitement.
“It is a huge challenge to balance the demands of the ER with the organized chaos. It takes a very special person to succeed here.”
–Diana Giacomino, RN
…you know variety is the spice of life.
And you like it extra spicy. Habanero spicy. Every day is different in the ED. Every moment brings a new challenge and a new opportunity to be your best. That’s what you’re made for.
“Every day is different. It’s not made for everyone. It’s unique because you become a master in all fields.”
— Andrew Wong, BSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, CCRN-K, Emergency Department Staff Educator
…you’re a team player.
As good as you are, you know it takes an exceptional team to make miracles happen. You wouldn’t have it any other way. Fortunately, you’ll be surrounded by the best people in the business, including physicians who are consistently named among New York’s best by New York Magazine.
…you adapt at a moment’s notice.
When it comes to handling constant changes in a dynamic setting, you’re a human chameleon. You think fast, act fast and can change fast to suit every situation.
“What’s unique about being an emergency nurse is the constant need to reassess and reevaluate your situation and the situation of your patients–in a moment’s notice.”
–Matthew Hadley, BSN, RN
…you’re always looking for the next challenge.
You never settle and you’re never satisfied. If you even had laurels, you wouldn’t rest on them. You’re inspired to always go further and reach higher in your career.
“I chose emergency nursing because I knew it was a field that would constantly challenge me.”
–Sabina Monosova, BSN, RN
Make your move.
Now that we’ve established that you’re made for a great career in the ED, come to our ED Nursing Interview Week during the week of August 28th. You’ll get to learn all about the opportunities available throughout our 22-hospital system. Find out more here.
Think emergency nursing at Northwell Health is right for you? Attend our upcoming ED event or apply to our open jobs.
Huntington Hospital receives its 4th Magnet® designation
Huntington Hospital, one of our community hospitals, has recently attained its 4th Magnet® designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This is the highest honor an organization can receive for excellence in nursing care. In addition to being the first on Long Island, they are also second in New York State, and one of just 36 in the country to receive Magnet four or more times. Magnet status is the gold standard for nursing excellence – a reflection of Huntington Hospital’s nursing professionalism, strong collaboration, innovation, and teamwork as well as superiority in patient care.
Huntington Hospital’s culture is built on a commitment to quality, exceptional experience, and excellence for both patients and employees. “Our Nursing Leadership team is professional, dedicated, and committed to ensuring the best practice environment,” said Janet Milanese, Associate VP of Nursing.
Their nurses are able to practice in a supportive environment where opportunities are abundant, innovation is encouraged and their voices are heard. Their nurses work collaboratively and collegially with their interdisciplinary team to provide the best outcomes for their patients. “Senior leadership remains committed to nursing and meeting their strategic goals by supporting education, certification, and resources necessary to continue to provide high-quality care. Achieving and maintaining Magnet designation is a true testament to not only nursing efforts but also the efforts of all that support the nursing department at Huntington Hospital,” said Donna Tanzi, Director of Nursing Education and Professional Development.
Nurses at Magnet facilities can feel the strong attraction between the two as they are known for their high retention rates, high job and employee engagement/satisfaction scores, as well as a culture of excellence and positive patient outcomes. “As a new nurse seeking employment, Huntington Hospital was my number one choice because of their sterling reputation as a Magnet designated hospital. Working alongside nurses who hold such high standards has given me an unsurpassable advantage in my career. I consider myself very lucky to work in an organization that thrives on education and excellence,” said Jessica Shremshock, RN. Nurses are identified as the pioneers at the forefront of our evolving health system and all aspects of patient care, and the nurses at Huntington Hospital are always keeping the patient and their family’s needs at heart and find innovative ways to meet those needs. It’s that sense of empathic necessity that keeps their nurses motivated and constantly seeking ways to improve the care of their patients by refining nursing-sensitive indicators and keeping patients at the center.
Huntington Hospital nurses feel empowered knowing they have a voice that will be heard, and this support reinforces the culture of pride that is felt by all who work here. Megan, a registered nurse in the ER reaffirms just how special working at a Magnet organization feels, stating, “Working in a Magnet facility reminds me every day why I chose a career in nursing in the first place.” Shannell Blanchard, RN, also adds, “Working at Huntington Hospital has really changed the way I practice nursing. As a magnet hospital, they hold their nurses to standards of excellence and it has given me a foundation with which to be a better nurse. I am glad I made the choice to work here.”
Being recognized by Magnet is a tremendous honor. The culture of excellence at Huntington Hospital continually inspires the highest level of safety, quality, and patient and staff satisfaction. This fourth achievement affirms the foundation of nursing excellence they have built.Explore their nursing opportunities. (link to RN Huntington positions)
Welcome to the new Emergency Department at Southside Hospital
I had the privilege of taking a tour of the new Bohlsen Family Emergency Department at Southside Hospital. Once I walked through the sliding doors only one word came to my mind: WOW. This newly renovated facility had light colored walls, a beautiful structure, an open atmosphere and a welcoming feeling to it. I was greeted by Jim Wescott, ED Nurse Manager, and Harold Fischer, ED Director of Patient Care Services, who began to explain this beautifully built facility. The new building is three times larger than the old ED, and is able to treat 70,000 patients a year because of the new set-up, process improvements, and the amount of staff they have working at any given time. Looking around the new 30,000 square foot facility I began to ask a million questions – what were the new rooms I was looking at? What did the lighting system above each door mean? Why was the department built this way? The list went on, and on.
Jim and Harold began the tour with a look at the new private patient rooms and began to answer my questions about the lighting notification system that each room had. They showed me the chart inside each room that showed a color coded system which helps streamline the patient examination process and experience, and the 4 lights above each door change with the patient and room needs. The red light means that there is a patient in the room and needs vital signs taken. The yellow light means that there is a provider in the room, the green light means the room needs cleaning, and the blue light means that the patient needs care. The lights also flash to indicate that the patient needs care, the patient is ready to move, or the room is empty.”
They then went into the building design and how it was created with two major factors in mind, the patient experience and employee needs. Designed for efficiency, the re-construction of the ED absorbs excess noise so it creates a calming atmosphere, even when it’s at full capacity. You can actually hear a pin drop! There are two central nursing stations so it gives nurses and doctors the extra room they need and creates a better working environment. With 16 private rooms and a 5 bed isolation unit, the nurses are constantly moving between patients, and after talking to a few it was clear that they appreciate having two stations to choose from.
“I love the new ED – it’s great to have 2 nurses’ stations because you always have access to what you need when you need it. When you have 2 stations, you are constantly in contact with everyone and you are always walking past your patients, which makes you check on them more. This also increases communication between nurses and doctors with their patients which allows us to provide them with the best care possible.” said Jeanette Pisano, Emergency RN.
Jim continued to say, “With the new process improvements and design we have been able to set a new standard of Emergency care for our patients” Since the opening they have been able to increase their PresGaney scores from the 10th percentile to the 75th Dr. Gregory Garra, one of the Emergency Department doctors said,
“The new ED gives us the capability to take medicine and turn it upside down. It takes a little bit to get used to, but once you understand the process it’s a breath of fresh air. The learning curve took less than a week, and it helps everyone – from the patients, to the nurses to the doctors. From a clinical perspective the new department and lighting system allows you to receive support right from the gecko because of all the communication. As a doctor I am able to see the patients right away – they send them in and I see them. The support is far better than the traditional support found in other hospitals.”
From there we headed towards the new Behavioral Health Department which was designed for the safety of the patients, as well as the staff. The unit consists of 6 private rooms with a secure interview room when they first check in. I was able to chat with the staff working there which consisted of security guards, social workers, registered nurses, environmental services workers, and a psychiatrist. The great part about the layout of the department was that the workers always have views of all of the rooms so they could keep watch of their patients while talking to me. The unique part about the new Behavioral Health department was that they had their own ambulance entrance for patients to come through. This was something that the nurses really loved, because the team can immediately start assessing patients and give them the care they needed without having to go through the ED.
The rest of the trip consisted of viewing the helipad for our SkyHealth helicopter program, touring the old Emergency Department, and talking about the next steps to come – which includes a Pediatric ED, infectious disease unit and a new unit for patients who need to have a longer stay. With 60 treatment spaces, radiology suites, a rapid access area, a new layout, and process improvements, it seems as if this new Emergency Department has it all – for the patients, and for the employees.
Experience the new Emergency Department for yourself – explore our current openings at Southside Hospital.
It is the policy of Northwell Health to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all employees equally regardless of age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, generic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, or other characteristics protected by applicable law. Northwell Health leaders, including the CEO, are committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.